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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

Soviet claims to territory west of their frontiers. His death at this par-
ticular moment naturally struck the imagination of all and sundry. It
was he who had initiated the relations between his Government and
Russia; it was he who had received so many pledges from Britain as to
the future of Poland3 and it was he who had sacrificed a great deal in
maintaining relations with the Soviets, yet, in spite of it all., he was to
watch his efforts fail. He had been obliged to recognise that his " personal
sacrifice was depreciated by those for whom it had been made., and to
realise how cynically it had been derided by those whose crime he had
forgiven in the name of the Polish Government/' wrote the independent
Polish Press. The task undertaken by Sikorski in relation to Russia was
by no means easy; with his Government on foreign territory, he could
never for one moment allow himself to forget the importance of preserving
the * Front of the United Nations.9 Sikorski's fight for Poland's integrity
in the arena of Allied diplomacy was backed by a united Polish frontóthe
mere thought of bargaining with Polish territory was considered high
treason by its people. Sikorski,, as Prime Minister, had a greater scope
for his negotiations in an undertaking such as this than a Minister of any
other country would have had under similar circumstancesóbut the limit
" beyond which no Pole can go " was distinctly drawn. The aims of the
Soviets, however, went far beyond these c limits/ touching the frontiers
of Poland and her sovereignty, and Sikorski was unable to satisfy the
Kremlin.
On July % 1943^ Izvestia published a modest tribute to the late Polish
Premier, stating that " he was one of those who understood the significance
of the struggle of the Soviet Union against Germany, for the common
cause of all the freedom-loving peoples, and particularly for the Polish
people. The Soviet Union maintains its view that there must be a
strong and independent Poland after Hitler's defeat. But this close col-
laboration was possible only with a Polish Government which was not
hostile, and through a friendship and alliance with the U.S.S.R." It
ended by the words that Sikorski" had finally yielded, however, to pressure
from those circles of his entourage who were continuing a policy of
hostility towards the Soviet Union."
Sikorski will be remembered in the history of Polish-Russian relations
as one more champion (and the most unlucky one) of the rapprochement
between the two nations, a policy which, under the existing circumstances,
where a weak democratic country was seeking an understanding and a
e fair deal * from a strong imperialist Power, could hardly have been
successful.
Failing in all attempts to coerce the Polish Government in London to
submit to Moscow, the Kremlin brought the first diplomatic round to a
conclusion by declaring that the Polish Government, in refusing to accept
its humiliating demands, was openly showing * hostility * towards the
188